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Waikato DHB Improves Health Targets Performance

Waikato DHB Improves Health Targets Performance

Waikato DHB’s commitment to the Ministry of Health’s national Health Targets is evident as the organisation improves on its own performance across all six targets this quarter.

Compared to its 2012/13 quarter one (July-September) results Waikato DHB is closer to reaching the Ministry’s set targets for five out of six targets: improved access to elective surgery, increased immunisation, better help for smokers to quit, more heart and diabetes checks and shorter stays in emergency departments.

Results for the shorter waits for cancer treatment target remain the same as last quarter at 100 per cent performance.

This good news is offset by a “disappointing” six-hour Health Target result in which for the first time, along with Capital and Coast DHB, Waikato DHB ranks last in comparison to other DHBs

This quarter, Waikato DHB is performing at 88 per cent of patients being seen in its five emergency departments within six hours against a target of 95 per cent. This result is an improvement on the DHB’s previous quarter results.

“For us that means between six and 10 patients in a 24 hour period being seen outside of that target, keeping in mind between 180 and 200 patients are being seen within it per week,” group manager of Waikato and Thames hospitals Mark Spittal said.

“We want to reiterate that we are strongly committed to this target. We’ve been working extremely hard for some time to try and achieve it,” he said.

Waikato DHB clinicians and management say that many factors contribute to the organisation’s low performance for the six hour Health Target in comparison to other DHBs. Of particular influence is a contuining increase in attendance to Waikato DHB’s emergency departments, particularly its largest at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton.

“For us, the simple reality of quarter two results is something like an 11 per cent increase in attendance to Waikato Hospital ED compared to the 12 months previous. We are attempting to admit into our hospital every single day somewhere between 10 and 15 more patients than for the same period last year,” Mr Spittal said.

“This quarter, our trauma load is the highest we have seen in 20-30 years.”

In light of these high numbers Mr Spittal encourages the public to “do what we can” so that those who receive ED care are those who need it most.

“Sometimes it can be as simple as making sure we exercise every week. There is clear evidence that doing something as little as going for a walk a couple of times a week for half an hour will reduce the risk of ending up in ED with heart attacks, diabetes and so on.

“We also need to develop healthier attitudes towards alcohol consumption, and that would make a dramatic difference to ED admissions.

“We have come a long way from 67 per cent performance statistic when the targets were initially set. There’s been significant national improvement. We have improved and we are going to continue to do so,” said emergency department clinical director John Bonning.

“We can’t be everything to everybody but we do our best to provide everything that people need,” he said.


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